SPEND MAN­AGE­MENT

Ser­viced apart­ments of­fer cost sav­ings and an en­hanced ex­pe­ri­ence for trav­ellers

The 2018 Guide to Serviced Apartments - - CONTENTS -

Mak­ing the most of long-stay ac­com­mo­da­tion

As ser­viced apart­ments con­tinue to evolve, the model be­comes more flex­i­ble. Where once they were avail­able only for stays of a min­i­mum of 90 days, now many can be booked for just one night, and it is worth tak­ing the time to un­der­stand who is of­fer­ing what and how they can be booked.

“Sur­vey and an­a­lyse your lengths of stay to see what ac­com­mo­da­tion types would en­hance the choices,” ad­vises Q Sky­line’s Lorna Keen. “Pro­vid­ing trav­ellers with op­tions and ask­ing them to try out some­thing new and then to share their ex­pe­ri­ence with the community, can help to en­cour­age change. This will lead to a longer-term cost re­duc­tion and en­hance the trav­eller’s ex­pe­ri­ence.”

There are also ways to use ser­viced apart­ments to en­sure best value, in­clud­ing us­ing stu­dios, opt­ing for a se­condary lo­ca­tion and ask­ing trav­ellers to share with col­leagues. Mil­len­ni­als now join­ing the work­place have been brought up with a much more re­laxed at­ti­tude and are more open to the idea of shar­ing.

Con­sult­ing gi­ant PwC says it has seen an in­creased de­mand for apart­ments be­cause they are a bet­ter fit for staff stay­ing away from home for a long pe­riod, and are more cost ef­fec­tive than a ho­tel.

Sam van Leeuwen, the firm's head of ho­tels and venues pro­gramme, says PwC has be­gun switch­ing to two-bed­roomed apart­ments for big­ger projects, with staff ben­e­fit­ting from com­pan­ion­ship and the com­pany sav­ing money.

“In Greenwich we even have three-bed apart­ments,” she says.

“That is one of the changes over the past few years. Some of the more

ju­nior staff, grad­u­ates, are used to shar­ing and as long as apart­ments have a bed­room with bath­room, we are happy with that,” she says. “It is very cost ef­fec­tive for us to use them to de­liver a project and cost-ef­fec­tive for the client as well.”

The price is right

Van Leeuwen does not fore­see any change of ap­proach be­cause of Brexit but, “If any­thing, it is about dif­fer­ent cost mod­els. It all has to fit a project and client bud­get; it is a very cost fo­cused en­vi­ron­ment.”

This echoes Amanda Met­calfe’s com­ment about or­gan­i­sa­tions be­ing tied to a bud­get and hav­ing to find ac­com­mo­da­tion that fits the bill – in any sense.

In ad­di­tion two- or three-bed apart­ments can work for col­leagues who want to work and eat to­gether.

For ex­am­ple, if they have been re­lo­cated and want to live with peo­ple who speak their mother tongue or cook and eat the same food.

A full ser­vice ho­tel will al­ways be higher in pric­ing, re­gard­less of size. “A lot of the ser­viced apart­ments say you get all this space but it is a self­ca­ter­ing op­tion. For me it’s not about the size of the apart­ment, it is about the soft ser­vices that are on top or taken off.

“I want the flex­i­bil­ity and free­dom of a ser­viced apart­ment unit,” says AIG’s global ac­com­mo­da­tion man­ager, Jan Ja­cob­sen. “They don’t have the ser­vice el­e­ment, ex­cept for house­keep­ing once a week, and any­thing else you pay for. In a ho­tel, you get 2.6 staff mem­bers per guest room and you pay more. The apart­ment world has to sit be­low the ho­tel world and my sav­ing in the apart­ment world is sig­nif­i­cant, up to 47%,” he says.

Ja­cob­sen also in­cludes the home ren­tal sec­tor in his in­ven­tory and uses prod­ucts such as one­fines­tay by Ac­cor, Veeve (Wyn­d­ham) and Oa­sis (Hy­att), which en­sures they are pro­fes­sion­ally man­aged. “We are ex­plor­ing op­tions at the mo­ment to en­hance that fur­ther,” he says.

A good ex­am­ple of ser­viced apart­ments that lend them­selves to cor­po­rate use of a se­condary lo­ca­tion are Port­fo­lio Apart­ments’ stock in Hat­field, Wel­wyn Gar­den City and Steve­nage, all on the A1M cor­ri­dor and just 25 min­utes from Lon­don King’s Cross.

The com­pany has 20 units, has only cor­po­rate business and is sur­rounded by ma­jor or­gan­i­sa­tions such as gsk,

Tesco, Roche, ee, Air­bus, Mit­subishi, ICT and more.

“We have been look­ing af­ter a lot of Tesco’s Or­a­cle con­trac­tors, who have been work­ing on site since last year,” says man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Port­fo­lio, Carly Fitz­patrick. “We beat the lo­cal ho­tels all the time be­cause their prices are on a par with Lon­don. They can get away with that be­cause they have 95% oc­cu­pancy Mon­day to Thurs­day.”

UBS man­dates that trav­ellers stay­ing away for five nights use ser­viced apart­ments where the bank has a ne­go­ti­ated pro­gramme – in Lon­don, Zurich and Krakow – un­less ho­tels are cheaper. “If they book into a dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tion that doesn’t ap­ply be­cause we won’t have ne­go­ti­ated rates so the price might not be as com­pet­i­tive as ho­tels,” says group cor­po­rate ser­vices, global travel man­ager, Kevin Carr.

The bank books 10,000 nights in ser­viced apart­ments per year and saves some £50 per night, plus F&B and laun­dry sav­ings. The num­bers speak for them­selves.

Travel man­ager of Mata­lan, Amanda Wor­thing­ton, cur­rently buys 240 nights in Stay­bridge Suites at around £100 a night. Mata­lan op­er­ates on bill­back and be­cause the com­pany books a lot of IHG prop­er­ties, the Stay­bridge Suites in­ven­tory goes through the nor­mal pay­ment pro­cesses and can be booked through HRS. Some­times sav­ings are not the only driver. “We don’t do this as a sav­ing, it’s more for the facilities and space,” she says.

Apart­ments can give se­ri­ous sav­ings over ho­tel rates but it re­quires time and pa­tience to work out which model best suits your needs. That said, the ef­fort re­pays buy­ers in spades.

"Apart­ments can give se­ri­ous sav­ings over ho­tel rates but it re­quires time and pa­tience to work out which model best suits your needs. That said, the ef­fort re­pays buy­ers in spades"

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